CEMEX Wind Turbine Project Case Study

Dec. 3, 2012

Incorporated in 1906, CEMEX is one of the largest building materials suppliers in the world. The company produces, distributes, and markets cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and other building materials to customers in more than 50 countries. CEMEX has a sustainable operations strategy that is based on increasing the use of renewable energy sources in operations, replacing traditional fuels with carbon-neutral alternatives, and exploring new carbon-reduction options. As part of this strategy, the company commissioned a GE 1-megawatt (MW) wind turbine at its quarry in Madison, California, in August 2012. The turbine, a 1.5-MW SLE model, was de-rated to 1 MW to comply with California's net metering laws. The turbine's production is better than a typical 1-MW turbine due to a superior power curve. It is set to produce at a maximum capacity of 1 MW. Actual savings from the project will depend on future energy costs.

Other project facts:

  • The turbine's annual production is 1,808,000 kilowatt-hours, enough to power more than 203 average American households annually and to eliminate approximately 1,500 tons of carbon emissions.
  • Nearly 30% of the quarry's energy consumption will be produced by the turbine.
  • Thirty-five temporary jobs were created during construction.
  • One permanent employee will maintain the turbine.

Wind Powering America interviewed CEMEX officials to learn more about the approximately $5 million project.

Can you provide us with some project history?

CEMEX set a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 25% per ton of cement by 2015 (from a 1990 baseline) and reducing NOx emissions by 15% by 2015 from 2005 levels. CEMEX already achieved significant progress in reducing its carbon emissions by 20.5% and NOx emissions by 19% in 2010. The company began negotiations with project developer Foundation Wind Power in July 2010 and subsequently completed a detailed review of various CEMEX sites in California, including wind resource and overall project feasibility. Foundation Wind Power built, owns, and maintains the wind turbine, and CEMEX entered into a long-term power purchase agreement.

Did CEMEX use any state or federal incentives for this project?

Yes. The project utilized the California State Self Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) Grant and the Federal Production Tax Credit. CEMEX also entered into a net metering agreement with local utility Pacific Gas & Electric, whereby the energy not used by the plant is fed to the grid under California's net metering rules.

Is CEMEX planning additional wind turbine projects?

CEMEX plans to bring four additional wind turbines online as part of two projects at its facilities in Victorville, California, which will bring the company's total distributed wind generating capacity in the state to more than 7 megawatts.

—Julie Jones